First employee seasonal flu clinics begin
UW-Madison is offering a series of seasonal influenza vaccine clinics for faculty and staff. In a change from previous years, only the nasal spray version of the vaccine is available at a series of November clinics, with delivery of the injectable version now expected in early December.
The university was advised by Home Health United, its vaccine supplier, that there would be delays in deliveries of the injectable version of the seasonal influenza vaccine.
In response, the university has scheduled additional employee flu vaccination clinics in December to accommodate the later injectable delivery date.
“We apologize for this inconvenience,” says Jim Morrison, occupational health officer in the Department of Environment, Health and Safety, which manages the employee flu shot program. “We know that there is extremely high interest and demand for this service this year, and we are working with Home Health United to get vaccine for employees as soon as we possibly can.”
Supplies of the seasonal vaccine are temporarily in short supply in many places, says Morrison. According to Home Health United, this is partly because demand was much higher than usual early in the season. In addition, many manufacturers were instructed to shift to production of H1N1 vaccine, compounding supply issues.
The FluMist nasal spray is a safe and effective alternative to the shot for many people. The seasonal version is made by the same manufacturer and by the same method as the nasal spray for H1N1 that many schoolchildren have received recently.
However, FluMist is not recommended for use by people in certain groups, including
— people 50 years of age and over
— pregnant women
— people with certain medical conditions, including heart, liver, lung or kidney disease; asthma or reactive airways disease; diabetes; weakened immune system; or chronic muscle or nerve disorders, such as cerebral palsy, that can cause swallowing or breathing difficulties.
— people who anticipate having close contact with anyone with a severely weakened immune system, such as a transplant patient, within seven days following administration of the vaccine.
Employees who fall into any of these groups should wait until the injectable vaccine is available or should contact their health care providers to see if they have any seasonal vaccine at this time.
“As in past years, it’s our goal to offer seasonal influenza vaccine to as many faculty and staff as possible,” says Morrison. “It just may take a little more patience on everyone’s part as we schedule around these delivery issues.”
To view a calendar of the scheduled clinics, visit http://flu.wisc.edu/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/Calendar.pdf.
To check on seasonal vaccine availability elsewhere, contact information for providers is available at http://flu.wisc.edu/.
Payment for employee vaccinations offered on campus will be processed directly to the employee’s state health insurance provider. If you go to an out-of-network provider such as a community clinic, you may have to pay first and then seek reimbursement.
For employees with Dean Care, Physicians Plus, Group Health Cooperative or Unity health insurance, flu shots are administered at no charge if you bring your insurance card with you to the clinic.
For more information, call Environment, Health and Safety at 265-5000.